I came across this translation of the Tao Te Ching by Stephen Mitchell, and am really enjoying the fresh language and approach to the wisdom of Lao Tzu. A part of me also wonders, could it be that I have changed over time, and it is more than fresh words that open up new insight….
Let me know which version resonates with you today.
“Empty your mind of all thoughts.
Let your heart be at peace.
Watch the turmoil of beings,
but contemplate their return.
Each separate being in the universe
returns to the common source.
Returning to the source is serenity.
If you don’t realize the source,
you stumble in confusion and sorrow.
When you realize where you come from,
you naturally become tolerant,
kindhearted as a grandmother,
dignified as a king.
Immersed in the wonder of the Tao,
you can deal with whatever life brings you,
and when death comes, you are ready.”
~ Lao Tzu*
* Mitchell, Stephen. Tao Te Ching (Perennial Classics) (Kindle Locations 373-383). Harper Perennial.
Here is a translation of the same verse 16 by John Braun Jr..
“Seek the reality of emptiness and stillness,
The great constants of existence.
Though life abounds, its creations rise and fall.
Eventually all return, in their own way, to Tao.
To return to Tao is to embrace stillness,
The relentless way of nature.
The flow of nature does not change.
To see its constancy is to know the intricacies of the ordinary,
Revealing patterns of the grand.
To ignore this constant is to mistake the eternal for the mundane, Bringing unharmonious selfish action and discord,
Pathologies to humanity.
Accepting the constant means opening the mind.
This leads to compassion and impartiality,
A respect for all that Tao provides and takes away,
And an understanding that all return to the ultimate reality of Tao.
Life is fleeting, Tao is constant:
An eternal emptiness, full to bursting.”
~ Lao Tzu*
*Braun Jr., John; Tzu, Lao; von Bargen, Julian; Warkentin, David. Tao Te Ching (Kindle Locations 269-284). . Kindle Edition.